Regarding the Canon: Documentary and Street Photogaphy
Northlight Gallery presents a series of exhibitions from the Solari Foundation Collection, featuring works by photographers many will know but may never have seen outside a photo history text.
For over two decades, Northlight Gallery has been the steward of the Solari Foundation Collection, which has provided School of Art faculty and students with the opportunity to study these significant works. Curator Liz Allen stated, “Now the public will be able to appreciate prints by early practitioners, avant-garde artists, renown photographers and groundbreakers in the field.”
The exhibition series continues with selections of 20th century works by documentary and street photographers Eugène Atget, Weegee, Garry Winogrand, Larry Clark and Bill Owens.
Eugène Atget photographed much of Paris at the turn of the century before modernization demolished the ‘old city.’ American photographer Berenice Abbott became an advocate of his work after a trip to France and contributed to him becoming widely influential for Modernist photographers.
Arthur Fellig, a.k.a. "Weegee," captured sensational images of crime in the streets of New York as a freelance news photographer. His skillful compositions and visual cultural commentary earned him respect within the fine art community during his lifetime and continue to have relevance.
Images by Garry Winogrand featured in the exhibition include a selection from “Women are Beautiful.” In the current climate of widespread disclosures of sexual harassment and its subsequent public outrage, these images made in the 1960s and 70s encapsulate an era of the rising Women’s Liberation and Civil Rights movements through the lens of Winogrand. His images continue to be read in conflicting ways that catalyze thoughtful discussion.
"Tulsa," by Larry Clark, is a gritty, autobiographical representation of life in Tulsa, Oklahoma for Clark and a group of friends from 1963–1971. The portfolio depicts a torrid drug-addicted life including shooting up, sex, domestic violence, child neglect, gun violence and death. Clark’s images have a raw authenticity that some have criticized for “drawing the viewer into a prurient, voyeuristic relationship with the work” rather than acting as a cautionary tale.
In contrast, the photographs of Bill Owens from a few years later depict suburban life quite differently. He paired his images with quotes from their subjects that express a sense of agency, aspiration and a particular self-satisfaction, no matter how banal.
Visit the gallery and engage in a 21st century interpretation of these dynamic works of art and culture from the 20th century that speak with powerful resonance to the current issues of today.
Northlight Gallery, as part of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts, hosts exhibitions of artworks in which the content, subject matter or themes may challenge the sensibilities, perceptions and beliefs of some individuals. Please exercise discretion when choosing to view the works and preview for children.
Image credit: Carrousel by Eugene Atget